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Valuation of a Philippine Municipal Sea Urchin Fishery and Implications of Its Collapse

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Talaue-McManus, L.; Kesner, K. P. N.
Conference: Common Property in Ecosystems Under Stress, the Fourth Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Manila, Philippines
Conf. Date: June 16-19, 1993
Date: 1993
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/355
Sector: Fisheries
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): sea urchin
governance and politics
resource management
marine resources
village organization
Abstract: "The sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla had been exploited to near extinction from the reef flats of Bolinao, northern Philippines, to satisfy the demand of an export market for its roe. Although a closed fishing season was adopted in January 1989 to help maintain a lucrative but quickly deteriorating fishery, the natural population continued to decline. Averaged daily catch decreased from 30 kg roe in 1989 to 8 kg in 1992. Until 1992, the closed season was virtually not enforced, and the value of the catch per unit effort (CPUE) decreased from Phililippine peso (P) 67.00 in 1987 to P43.00 in 1992 (approx. USD 1.00=P25.00). In December 1992,the municipal government passed an ordinance restricting the distribution of sea urchin roe to the local market because the industry had virtually collapsed. "With the collapse of the sea urchin industry, the buyers shifted to other kinds of trading or income activities, some of which were not based on produce from the sea. In the case of gatherers, however, they coped by shifting to the collection of other marine resources like seaweeds, octopus and fish. Such shift in harvest pressure might endanger the sustainability of other exploited resources which are as susceptible to local extinction as the sea urchins. To effectively address the need for reviving sea urchin populations and more importantly, that of managing the harvest pressure on the reef-based Bolinao fisheries as a whole, a comprehensive scheme of management including supplemental or alternative livelihood schemes, village-managed marine reserves and environmental education, among others, must evolve."

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